China is expected to take the lead in education globally and become one of the most popular overseas study destinations for foreign students by 2049, the centennial of the People’s Republic of China, a top education official said on Oct 22.
“I hope that China will play a leading role in education worldwide, which means the standards of education in China will become the standards of the world,” Education Minister Chen Baosheng said at a news conference on the sidelines of the 19th CPC National Congress in answering a question about his wishes for China’s education by 2049.
“I hope that China will have a bigger say in educational affairs globally and make contributions to the development of the world’s education using China’s own experiences and wisdom,” he said.
Chen also expressed the hope that China will become the overseas study destination where students from around the world most aspire to go.
“We will be happy to see more teachers and students from other countries come to visit China and make progress together with their Chinese counterparts,” he said.
With more than 440,000 students from 205 countries and regions studying in China last year－up nearly 35 percent from 2012－China has become the largest overseas study destination in Asia and the third largest in the world. At least 47 countries and regions have signed agreements on mutual recognition of academic degrees, according to the Ministry of Education.
According to Chen, education in China has made great leaps during the past five years and has been making increasingly bigger impacts internationally.
He said the quality of education in China has generally reached a medium-high level. Some disciplines of higher education have met world-class standards and some universities’ places in global rankings have climbed quickly in recent years.
However, further efforts are needed to meet people’s growing demands for a better quality education, Chen said.
In the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping said that priority should be given to education to speed up its modernization and to develop education that satisfies people’s needs.
To realize that goal, Chen said the ministry will make efforts to improve in at least five aspects: preschool education, compulsory education, high school education, higher education and the training of teachers.
The gross enrollment rate of preschool education, for example, is expected to reach 85 percent by 2020. The current rate is 77.4 percent.